Group projects can be a nightmare; conflicting schedules, slackers, different ideas. People end up hating each other and the closer the deadline, the more stressed out everyone becomes. Does anyone actually enjoy working in groups with a bunch of busy, moody college students?
Before you go crying to your professor, check out these 5 tips on how to survive those dreaded group assignments:
1. Get scheduling out of the way first
Figure out who has classes when, who has a weekend job and who has to commute to their internship twice a week. Once that’s all out of the way, you can hopefully find a time that suits all of you. Don’t make any plans about who’s going to do what unless you know who’s actually available.
2. Respect different ideas
Recognize that everyone has strengths and weaknesses. If the project calls for creativity, don’t scold the kid who is more prone to convergent thinking. Find a middle ground that everyone can agree on and work from there. You want everyone in your group to feel appreciated and the best way to do that is to openly listen to their suggestions.
3. Outline and plan
Now that your group has decided on an idea, it’s time to PLAN! Figure out who is more capable of doing what and cooperate with each other. Make sure everyone has an equal amount of work and everyone has the same expectations. If you outline well, your group will stay focused and everything will fall together at the end. A great way to do this: group texts, video conference calls or a Google document that everyone has access to.
4. Stay civil
Yes, I know you’re probably gonna want to punch your group mates in the face a couple of times. Just remember: they’re college students too. They’re probably just as stressed as you are and it’s important to be understanding. A positive vibe is a productive vibe!
5. Don’t procrastinate
This one is obvious. Before you know it, the deadline is tomorrow and all your group has managed to do is create a Google doc with possible ideas. I know you’d rather be binge watching The Office but try to get the hard work out of the way. You’ll thank yourself when everyone else is crying at the library at 3 am but you and your group are enjoying popcorn and crying over Jim and Pam instead.
Hopefully these tips make working with people a little bit easier. Remember to hydrate yourself with way too much coffee and never give up. GO OUT AND GET THAT A!
Diane Cardoso is a writer who enjoys pug puppies and long walks through New York City. If she’s not working on a screenplay, you can find her at the August Wilson Theatre watching her favorite Broadway show.